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School of Law

Victory for Queen Mary University of London at the Nuremberg Moot Court Competition 2021

The team shares their experience of the competition, how they prepared and what lead to them winning.


Basanti Mardemootoo, Rojae Brown, and Mara Ioniță standing together in front of a trophy caseStudents from the School of Law at Queen Mary University of London won the Nuremberg Moot Court Competition 2021. On 30 July, they beat the Maastricht University team in the final overcoming difficult circumstances created by the Covid-19 pandemic. The winning team was composed of Mr Rojae Brown, Ms Mara Ionita, and Ms Basanti Mardemootoo (right).

The Nuremberg Moot Court is a three-stage competition: an initial application phase, a written round, and the virtual oral rounds. The competition focuses solely on International Criminal Law and operates its hearings as the International Criminal Court (ICC) would.

The team shares their story of winning the competition:

"The team was put together only a few days before the first deadline of the competition, which required us to write a short motivational letter describing our reasons for participating in the competition and what we hoped to obtain from this experience. Upon the successful submission and review of our application and motivation letter for the competition, our team progressed to the written phase. Thus, in February 2021, we were amongst the 120 teams that started preparing for the second stage.

We were given a fictional case, presenting intricate issues of international criminal law, and had to produce two documents: a Defence Memorandum and a Prosecution Memorandum. As the deadline was in March, this stage of the competition saw us work throughout a very busy period of the academic year in order to produce the best arguments. This was made even more difficult by the Covid-19 restrictions, which prevented us from meeting in-person. However, as it was only by producing high-quality submissions that our team would advance to the next step, the oral rounds, we managed to overcome these difficulties and submit our memoranda. In the end, out of 120 teams, our team scored second highest. Thus, with 89 points and only 2 points making the difference between us and the first place, we were amongst the 50 that proceeded to the next step.

A screenshot of the Zoom for the Nuremberg Moot preliminary round 2We entered the final phase, the (virtual) oral rounds, in July 2021. These rounds tested our advocacy skills as well as our knowledge and ability to adapt quickly. As our team only had three members, and no member could appear for both the Prosecution and the Defence, one team member would have to plead alone. Given the fact that the Defence Memorandum was the strongest of the two, we decided to pair the ‘iron man bench’ with it. Thus, we saw Basanti for the Defence, and Mara and Rojae for the Prosecution.

The oral rounds consisted of two preliminary rounds at the end of which the top scoring teams would advance to the last 16. Our team did not yield a single moot to our opponents, which garnered us 6 extra points. On the 23rd, when the results for the last 16 were announced, our team found itself in the charts with the second-highest score once again - with 42 points (as opposed to 43 points scored by the team qualifying first). Facing tougher opponents and stricter judges in each round, our team successfully got through the last 16, quarterfinals, and the semi-finals before proceeding to the finals. In the end, on July 30th, following an intense final where our team pleaded for the Defence, we beat Maastricht University, the defending champions. The final hearing was judged by International Criminal Court judges Raul Pangalangan, Bertram Schmitt and Solomy Balungi Bossa; the President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Ivana Hrdlickova; and, Supreme Criminal Court of Egypt Judge Adel Maged. Aside from winning the competition, our team member Basanti won the Best Speaker prize for the competition.

A screenshot of the Zoom for the Nuremberg Moot preliminary round 1Ultimately, the team’s success was owing to the distinct attributes of each member. Basanti is gifted with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of ICC jurisprudence and international criminal law, which enables her to quickly and effectively come up with arguments. This was completed by Mara’s shrewdness in perceiving tensions within arguments and then consciously angling for the judicial mind. The final piece of the puzzle was Rojae’s tenacious attention to detail, which allowed him to attentively scrutinize jurisprudence and find the correct answer."



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